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Few highs, many lows for USA Track & Field

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Team USA strugglesIt was fitting that Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt eclipsed Michael Johnson's twelve-year old world record on his way to gold in the 200m dash Wednesday. A torch, it seems, has been passed to Jamaica for these Olympics. Jamaica won just three individual Track & Field medals in Athens four years ago. Already they've won 9 medals (5 gold, 4 silver) in Beijing, and they are a country of only 2.8 million people. By contrast, the US (population 305 million) appears barely on track to equal their achievements in Athens, where they won a total of 25 Track & Field medals (8 gold).

The big story for Team USA is what might have been. Nearly every big pre-Olympics storyline has been wiped out or rewritten in ugly fashion. Major disappointments include: Tyson Gay and Lolo Jones finishing out of the medals; Lopez Lomong and Bernard Lagat failing to qualify for the 1500m final; Andrew Wheating and Christian Smith not advancing in the first round of the 800m; Deena Kaster breaking her foot at mile 3 of the marathon; Sanya Richards dropping from first to third in the closing meters of the 400m; only one of the male shot putters winning a medal; both 4x100m relay teams dropping the baton in the first round; and on and on...

One has to wonder, are we feeling some fallout from the Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery scandals? What can be (legally) done to get back on track for London 2012?